Sunday, 28 February 2010
Those of you in the UK will be well aware of the weather we (in Scotland) had at the end of last week.
The snow started here on Wednesday morning (as I was undertaking more al fresco repairs on our snowtrack) and didn't let up until Friday night.
At one point we'll have had well over a foot of snow but then it turned much wetter and consolidated down. We've ended up with 8" of dense snow which has now frozen.
And what do we do when the weather is like that? Good question.
We have a snowplough on our tractor so that is put to use keeping our essential tracks open. And that allows us to keep our ponies and 'pet' stags fed. And, other than that, we catch up with any indoor/ maintenance
jobs that are needing done. Machinery serviced, fox snares made up,(even more) bullets loaded.
We're all desperate to get back out on the hill. This latest dump of snow will have whitened up all but the steepest, rockiest ground and that is ideal for spotting foxes. But we need the visibility.
This weather is just what our deer didn't need, however. It is bound to be killing some of the weaker animals now. Furthermore, I wonder about our grouse. In these conditions they gather in huge packs and head to where there is some 'black ground'. But we have no black ground.
Normally this goes on until the snow breaks up and then they return to their territories. But a lot of our grouse ground has been under snow for over 2 months. And this latest fall has probably added another 2 feet at higher levels and that could take a long, long time to clear. Do the grouse wait it out or set up home elsewhere?
I take solace in the fact that, although this is an exceptional winter for us, conditions like these were a lot more commonplace in the past. And, somehow, the wildlife came through it.